DeKalb schools to install hundreds of water bottle filling stations

More water bottle filling stations are coming to DeKalb County schools.

The school district will use $535,537 in federal coronavirus relief funds to purchase 625 stations from Marks Plumbing Parts & Commercial Supply Product. The stations will replace traditional water fountains, Chief Operating Officer Benjamin Estill told school board members on Monday.

Board members unanimously approved the request to purchase the stations. As of Monday, 95% of elementary schools, 80% of middle and 70% of high schools were outfitted with the stations, Estill said.

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DeKalb has about 2,142 stations installed throughout the district. Estill said the district ideally would like to see between six and 10 stations — depending on population — placed in each school.

To date, the DeKalb school district has spent about $1.8 million to install stations, which gives students access to drinking water in compliance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance for reopening schools amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Board members in November purchased an initial 561 stations for about $455,000 and another 1,000 stations in March for $856,880.